Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Photon regions and umbilic conditions in stationary axisymmetric spacetimes
Faculty of Physics, Moscow State University, 119899, Moscow, Russia
* e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 21 May 2020
Published online: 12 June 2020
Photon region (PR) in the strong gravitational field is defined as a compact region where photons can travel endlessly without going to infinity or disappearing at the event horizon. In Schwarzschild metric PR degenerates to the two-dimensional photon sphere where closed circular photon orbits are located. The photon sphere as a three-dimensional hypersurface in spacetime is umbilic (its second quadratic form is pure trace). In Kerr metric the equatorial circular orbits have different radii for prograde, , and retrograde, , motion (where r is Boyer–Lindquist radial variable), while for the spherical orbits with constant r exist which are no more planar, but filling some spheres. These spheres, however, do not correspond to umbilic hypersurfaces. In more general stationary axisymmetric spacetimes not allowing for complete integration of geodesic equations, the numerical integration show the existence of PR as well, but the underlying geometric structure was not fully identified so far. Here we suggest geometric description of PR in generic stationary axisymmetric spacetimes, showing that PR can be foliated by partially umbilic hypersurfaces, such that the umbilic condition holds for classes of orbits defined by the foliation parameter. New formalism opens a way of analytic description of PR in stationary axisymmetric spacetimes with non-separable geodesic equations.
© The Author(s), 2020